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Accepted Contribution:

On Cuban grounds or the arts of living together  
Alicia Sliwinski (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Contribution short abstract:

This talk examines what the ground means, materially, temporally, and symbolically in a rural region of Cuba addressing issues of resistance and uncertainty from the perspective of smallholder farmers facing multiple forms of crisis.

Contribution long abstract:

This talk explores experiences of the ground and feelings of rootedness in a rural region of Cuba. It addresses issues of resistance and uncertainty from the point of view of longstanding smallholder farmers who have been facing multiscalar forms of crisis. The eastern region of the island, known for its coconut, cacao, and coffee production, had to cope with the destructive impact of a hurricane in 2016, and since then, with a series of unsettling challenges that have ushered a renewed sense of precariousness. Indeed, the compounded effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dramatic drop in tourism and ensuing loss of revenue, the end of the dual currency, inflation accompanied by food shortages and power outages, and the inexorable effects of climate change on agricultural production - all these factors have had adverse effects on local livelihoods and on people’s experiences of being firmly grounded in customary socioecological relational chains and moral economies. This talk will reflect on the notion of the ground as becoming a less predictable and more uncertain bedrock, both materially and symbolically, for local livelihoods, while drawing on local vernaculars that show steadfastness and resistance to multiscalar processes of loss and crisis. The talk would also like to examine how the notion of the ground can be harnessed to shed light on the researcher's engagement with people and with the spatial and temporal premises of core concepts in disaster anthropology.

Roundtable RT178
Doing and undoing grounds: rethinking the groundings of anthropocene anthropology
  Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -